This Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream makes me dream of holidays in France – and particularly of my husband’s island of Corsica. Candied chestnuts are such a festive French treat during the holiday season but I love this light and easy dessert at any time of year.
This post was originally published on 21 January 2012 but has now been updated to include a printable recipe card and updated text.
Mad About Chestnuts! How Do We Eat Them?
My youngest daughter is mad about chestnuts in all forms – either as sweet or savoury. If I mention this magic word, Lucie’s smile makes me melt quicker than the contents of this ice cream dish. She’s obsessed about roasted chestnuts, vacuum-packed chestnuts simply tossed on pumpkin soup, with green beans, or in this butternut & walnut gratin.
Even when little, she was even willing to sacrifice precious pocket money for an expensive poke of Parisian roasted chestnuts. It’s the biggest winter treat, smelling them roasting on trolleys at the welcoming exit of a Paris metro station – and helps to calm the effects of the howling winds at the top of the steps.
She nibbles at luxury candied chestnuts, marrons glacés, as if she was Charlie with a golden-ticketed chocolate bar. She also craves the sweetened candied chestnut & vanilla spread that is so common in France – by the legendary Clément Faugier. If you don’t know it, it’s a French staple that families have in store normally, as it’s dolloped on fromage blanc and spread (thinly!) on crêpes.
What does chestnut spread taste like? It’s particularly sweet, tastes of vanilla and well, chestnuts! Its texture is smooth – and lends itself well to all sorts of French desserts too.
What’s more, on our trip to Japan, we realised that the Japanese are really fond of chestnut ice cream too. So, making this at home is a real treat when we can’t just jump on a plane and visit!
Candied Chestnuts in France (marrons glacés)
Candied chestnuts are a total gourmet speciality in France and are traditionally enjoyed over the festive season. They’re primarily prepared in the Ardèche region but honestly (in my humble opinion) the best candied chestnuts are in Corsica – and I’m not just saying that because my husband is Corsican! The Corsicans put chestnut flour and chestnuts in so many of their recipes.
Egg Yolk Recipe for Macaron Lovers Who Need Egg Whites!
When you’re as mad about macarons as I am (and I know I’m not alone on this one – come on, own up), you need to use up plenty of egg yolks while you’re ageing your whites for 2-3 days before making macarons.
So, Ice cream is one of my favourite egg yolk recipes (this link is to my yolk database!), as it uses up 8 yolks in this easy, classic recipe.
Do I need an Ice Cream Machine? What If I don’t Have One?
Ideally, it’s best to have an ice cream machine. I don’t have one, but instead use the ice cream attachment for my stand mixer that still does the job well.
If you don’t have an ice cream machine or mixer sorbet/ice cream attachment, then take the cream out of the freezer every 30 minutes (about 5 times) and mix up the partially frozen mixture well.
How to Make Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream
PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW
1. Cream together the egg yolks, sugar and sweet chestnut purée in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
2. Heat the milk and cream in a heavy-based pan with the vanilla pod, cut in two lengthways. Add the powdered colouring, if using. Bring to the boil, and turn off the heat for the vanilla to infuse in the creamy milk for 5-10 minutes. Scrape out the seeds from the pod and add to the cream.
3. Pour the creamy milk onto the egg mixture whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan on a medium heat, whisking constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove the vanilla pod and set the mixture aside to cool.
4. Once cool, place in the fridge for 1-2 hours before pouring into an ice cream maker to churn then freeze for a couple of hours minimum.
Serve with marrons glacés and macarons.
Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream
- 8 egg yolks
- 100 g (3.5oz) caster sugar
- 2 (7oz) small 100g tins of sweetened chestnut spread
- 400 ml (14 floz) whole milk
- 200 ml (7 floz) whipping cream
- 1 vanilla pod
- pinch of caramel powdered colouring optional
- a handful of broken marrons glacés or whole ones if you're feeling posh
- Cream together the egg yolks, sugar and sweetened chestnut vanilla spread in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
- Heat the milk and cream in a heavy-based pan with the vanilla pod, cut in two lengthways. Add the powdered colouring, if using. Bring to the boil, and turn off the heat for the vanilla to infuse in the creamy milk for 5-10 minutes. Scrape out the seeds from the pod and add to the cream.
- Pour the creamy milk onto the egg mixture whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan on a medium heat, whisking constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove the vanilla pod and set the mixture aside to cool.
- Once cool, place in the fridge for 1-2 hours before pouring into an ice cream maker to churn. Then follow ice cream maker's manufacturer's instructions. Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours.